The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is seeking educators to serve as members of the Innovative Science Assessment Committee (ISAC) and the Bias and Sensitivity Committee (BSC) as part of the development of a new, innovative assessment pilot for Science and Technology/Engineering.
Application instructions are at the end of this memo, and applications are due on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 by 5pm.
This is an exciting opportunity to have a voice in the creation of a new model for statewide assessment. To prepare for a second pilot administration in May 2022, DESE will refine the new innovative science assessment in Grades 5 and 8 intended to measure students’ deeper learning and promote equitable practices. A small number of districts have been selected for the 2022 pilot while the rest of the state continues to use the existing MCAS for science and technology/engineering (STE). The innovative assessment includes a new type of performance task for students, in which they engage with interactive computer-based science activities or simulations based on real-life science phenomena or laboratory activities.
Committee members are directly involved in assisting the Department with the process of developing and refining the new, innovative performance tasks over the next two years. DESE is looking to select from a diverse pool of candidates.
For the content-focused Innovative Science Assessment Committees (ISACs), we are looking for candidates with content expertise, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and science teaching experience in grades 3-8. We strongly encourage science educators who have diverse backgrounds and who teach groups of diverse students to apply. There are 8 scheduled task review meetings and one data review meeting in SY21-22, and SY22-23 will follow a similar schedule. ISAC members are expected to receive a $870 honorarium per year for fulfilling their commitments.
For the Bias and Sensitivity Committee (BSC), we are looking for candidates with experience and understanding of bias and sensitivity issues, especially as they relate to K-12 education, familiarity with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, and experience in a diverse K-12 education environment. Science teaching experience is useful but not required. There are 4 scheduled meetings in SY21-22, and SY22-23 will follow a similar schedule. BSC members are expected to receive a $480 honorarium per year for fulfilling their commitments.
Committee Members’ Roles and Responsibilities
Committee members for the innovative assessment will be involved more frequently and at earlier stages of development than the standard MCAS committees. ISAC and BSC members will review and provide input on initial drafts to inform the design and content of tasks and will provide a final round of review prior to pilot administration.
ISAC members assist the Department in the review of the new performance tasks, simulations, scoring notes and rubrics. Members will help shape early concept descriptions, review prototypes and functional performance tasks, and make suggestions for refinements. After test administration, committee members will review data on student performance and engagement. The charge is to review items for:
- content accuracy;
- alignment with the Massachusetts STE Curriculum Framework;
- cognitive complexity;
- alignment with the Kaleidoscope deeper learning framework;
- developmental appropriateness; and
- instructional worthiness.
BSC members assist the Department with the review of the new performance tasks for cultural sensitivity, relevance and appropriateness. Committee members will review early concept descriptions to identify which are most suitable for development into performance tasks, and will later review the near-final versions of the performance tasks. Members will review items for bias and sensitivity concerns based on considerations of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, geography, languages spoken, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.
Reimbursement of Expenses
Due to the COVID-19 situation, we expect to hold all meetings virtually for the start of SY21-22.
Therefore, committee members will not incur travel costs. Meetings will be held on weekdays after 3pm, and participants will be paid an honorarium (stipend) for their time. The Department will reimburse districts for substitute teacher costs up to $150/day if there are meetings that require a committee member to miss a school day. If the COVID-19 situation allows for in-person meetings later in the year, members will be reimbursed for travel expenses including mileage.
Meeting Schedule and Commitments
Each Committee consists of approximately 10-12 educators. The membership term will run for two school years, from October 2021 through September 2023. ISAC members are required to attend the first meeting and all but one of the 9 scheduled meetings (see schedule below, one absence is allowed) and BSC members must attend all four meetings.
List of Proposed Dates for Committee Meetings
Bias & Sensitivity Grades 5 and 8 Time Date
Bias & Sensitivity Training and Review #1 3-7pm 11/3
Bias & Sensitivity Review #2 3-7pm 11/17
Bias & Sensitivity Review #3 3-7pm Feb. ‘22
Bias & Sensitivity Review #4 3-7pm Feb. ‘22
ISAC Grade 5 Science
G5: Training and initial task review #1 3-7pm 10/19
G5: Initial task review #2 3-7pm 10/26
G5: Initial task review #3 3-7pm 11/2
G5: Initial task review #4 3-7pm 11/9
G5: Initial task review #5 3-7pm 11/16
G5: Final Review #1 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G5: Final Review #2 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G5: Final Review #3 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G5: Data Review 9-4pm Sept ‘22
ISAC Grade 8 Science
G8: Training and initial task review #1 3-7pm 10/28
G8: Initial task review #2 3-7pm 11/4
G8: Initial task review #3 3-7pm 11/10
G8: Initial task review #4 3-7pm 11/18
G8: Initial task review #5 3-7pm 12/2
G8: Final Review #1 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G8: Final Review #2 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G8: Final Review #3 3-6pm Jan/Feb ‘22
G8: Data Review 9-4pm Sept 2022
1. Send a notice of intent to apply to iada_DESE@mass.gov. This can be a simple 1-2 line email stating that you intend to apply, and is intended solely to help us anticipate the number of applicants. No need to write a statement of interest in this email. The subject line should have your preferred committee, last name, first name. For example: ISAC Grade 5, Johnson, Janelle.
2. Complete the online application through which you will provide more information about your background, a statement of interest, and your résumé:
All applicants must gain approval from their supervisor for participating on these committees prior to completing the online application.
The deadline for completion of the online application and the submission of all materials is Thursday, September 30, 2021. Notifications will be sent in the following week. Upon selection, successful applicants will be sent invitations for the meeting dates and be asked to confirm attendance.
Thank you for your commitment to Massachusetts students and your interest in serving on these committees.